In other countries, hot cocoa and hot chocolate aren't as synonymous as they are here. Cocoa, in some cultures, is simply the pure cocoa powder mixed with water or milk, while hot chocolate is made of shavings melted into milk. In some parts of Europe, cornstarch is added to create an extremely thick result.
In Belgium, a country that is to chocolate what France is to bread, â€œwarme chocoladeâ€ or â€œchocolat chaudâ€ is a cup of steamed milk served with a small bowl of bittersweet chocolate chips for dissolving.
In the motherland of hot chocolate, Central and South America, the beverage still is extremely popular and has evolved since Montezuma's day. In Mexico, hot chocolate includes semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla.
And then there's the issue of marshmallows. Well, it's a little like beans in chili for me â€” serve them on the side, and let the lips to be pressed against the saucer say yea or nay.
With Christmas around the corner, be sure to leave Santa a cup of hot chocolate with his cookies. If you do, I'll bet he'll leave you a nice pouch of cocoa mix in your stocking.